Proprioception: Bottom-up directive for motor recovery after spinal cord injury
Proprioceptive feedback provides movement-matched sensory information essential for motor control and recovery after spinal cord injury. While it is understood that the fundamental contribution of proprioceptive feedback circuits in locomotor recovery is to activate the local spinal cord interneurons and motor neurons in a context-dependent manner, the precise mechanisms by which proprioception enables motor recovery after a spinal cord injury remain elusive. Furthermore, how proprioception contributes to motor learning mechanisms intrinsic to spinal cord networks and gives rise to motor recovery is currently unknown. This review discusses the existence of motor learning mechanisms intrinsic to spinal cord circuits and circuit-level insights on how proprioception might contribute to spinal cord plasticity, adaptability, and learning, in addition to the logic in which proprioception helps to establish an internal motor command to execute motor output using spared circuits after a spinal cord injury.